OPTIC-Vetted Policy Data Sets

One of OPTIC’s goals is to improve policymaking and the effectiveness of opioid policies by enhancing opioid policy science. As part of that effort, OPTIC is posting OPTIC-Vetted Policy Data Sets. The purpose of these data is to help the research and policy communities consistently define policy data variables, thereby improving policy data use, replicability and reproducibility of study findings.

The policy data areas currently available:

  • State laws and regulations for office-based buprenorphine treatment
  • State laws and regulations for prescribing Naloxone in conjunction with additional medication
  • State laws and regulations authorizing third-party prescribing and lay administration of Naloxone
  • State laws providing protection from criminal sanctions to overdose victims or witnesses who seek emergency services
  • State laws and regulations governing the operation and use of prescription drug monitoring programs
  • State laws and regulations governing sale and consumption of marijuana for therapeutic purposes
  • Studies published 2005–2018 evaluating how state and federal policies affected opioid-related outcomes, specifying the policy evaluated, outcomes examined, and rigor of study design
  • Effects of state medical marijuana laws, including dispensary provisions, on opiate-related harm

How can OPTIC-Vetted Policy Data Sets contribute to better opioid policy science?

When researchers are assessing and comparing the effects of a given policy at the state level, it is essential to know the details of how individual policies are implemented. For example, prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) as they appear in state laws might look identical, but the functionality of the programs can differ by state. Our OPTIC-vetted data showcases these important distinctions for PDMPs and other opioid-related policies.

To create the OPTIC-Vetted Policy Data Sets, OPTIC investigators draw on internally collected and external collected policy data. Internally collected data were developed for specific project purposes by RAND and/or USC always in collaboration with a public health lawyer on those projects. Externally collected policy data come primarily from the Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System and/or legal teams at Temple University who were contracted to collect data for OPTIC. Additional external sources of data include the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Specific sources for each set of variables are included in the data documentation. Elements from these various projects and data sets are synthesized, cross-checked and investigated to ensure that definitions of core elements defining a policy are accurately captured in the OPTIC version of the database. The core elements are those that theory and/or practice would suggest are key for making a policy effective. When there is reasonable debate on what those core elements are, we reflect in our OPTIC database reasonable variants of these policies researchers may want to capture. For example, it is our understanding of the literature that for PDMP to be effective, state laws must specify that prescribers MUST access the PDMP before writing a prescription to a new/existing patient. However, even if the state law clearly states this requirement, if the PDMP is not updated daily (say it is instead updated weekly or monthly), it is not likely to be as effective. Thus, our measure of must access PDMP is one that includes the technical aspects of the law (requirement to access PDMP before writing a prescription) in addition to elements like timing of updates that will likely influence the impact of a must access law.

Please cite the use of these data as "RAND-USC Schaeffer Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center. [YEAR]. OPTIC-Vetted [DATASET TITLE]. Obtained from https://www.rand.org/health-care/centers/optic/resources/datasets.html on [DOWNLOAD DATE]."

Download the Datasets

Office-based Buprenorphine Treatment Policy Data (.zip file)

State Section 1115 IMD Exclusion Waivers Data (.zip file)

Co-prescribing Naloxone Policy Data (.zip file)

Naloxone Policy Data (.zip file)

Good Samaritan Policy Data (.zip file)

PDMP Policy Data (.zip file)

Medical Marijuana Policy Data (.zip file)